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Tories must give Scottish parliament power over East Coast new public rail company

20 May 2018

The Scottish Parliament must be given a binding say about future rail services on the soon to be renationalised East Coast Mainline says TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes.

Unless the new LNER public operator, which will replace Virgin Trains East Coast from next month, is accountable to Holyrood as well as Westminster, Scottish people can have no faith in it to deliver for the Scottish public interest.

Said Cortes, “The Tories have messed up the running of East Coast for the last three years, so it should come as little surprise they are now completely botching the re-nationalisation of it by completely ignoring the Scottish nation's interest in it. Until and unless the new LNER operator is made accountable in Scotland, Westminster Tories are riding roughshod over Holyrood’s democratic right to have a say in the running of its rail affairs.

“It’s worrying they seem to have forgotten that the trains on this line don’t start and end in Newcastle. They run all the way from Aberdeen and Inverness so meaning Scotland’s interest must be represented at LNER board level, otherwise the Scottish public can have no faith in the new public operator.

'These services provide a vital economic and social link between England and Scotland. Not only do they join their two capital cities but they also provide services between cities and towns across Scotland and the only daytime link between the Highlands and London. Our view is that it must now remain for ever and a day in public ownership to give passengers and taxpayers certainty'.

'Future decisions on how this vital service should be run can't just rest with Westminster. The Scottish Parliament must now be given a binding say on its future.

“Let's face it, this is the third time within a decade that private operators have failed on this route. This demonstrates that leaving this route solely at the mercy of Westminster, is no wisdom at all. It's time for the Scottish Parliament to have its say and for it to decide to keep this route publicly owned.”

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